Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Hungry Christmas
6 Days to Christmas

In my house Christmas is incomplete without my mother's special donuts, chaklis, karanjis and the best possible chivdas that only my mom knows how to make. By the way, the hyperlinks do not take you to my mom's recipes but they are there just to give you an idea what I am talking about and, also, because I'm too lazy to explain what those strange sounding names are all about. :-)))

Then, of course, there is the dinner on Christmas Eve when an exotic meat is the main course -- roasted duckling, turkey, venison or whatever new is available at Al Jazira Supermarket. And on Christmas Day, my mother's biryani or pulao is what we have for lunch and is something we look forward to each year. Since it's an old tradition in our family to have an 'open-house' each Christmas, the evenings are spent entertaining people and, of course, this, again, involves a lot of eating.

So you see, 'food' forms an important component of my Christmas memories and though much of the goodies will be curtailed this year because my parents are currently vacationing in India, nevertheless, there will still be lots and lots of serious munching going on.

Now while I gorge on memories of past gastronomic experiences, and contemplate making new ones, it is worthwhile to consider that, today, 852 million people across the world are hungry, up from 842 million a year ago. And that everyday, more than 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes, that is, one child every five seconds.

If this is a very unappetising thought, then consider, another uncomfortable perspective. The world's current population stands at 6.55 billion people, and that 852 million people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union.

But the most horrible statistic is that the world produces enough food for everyone, but over 800 million people remain chronically hungry. And that for the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years.

As I said before, these are just statistics but they could also be food for thought this Christmas. The Saviour was born in impoverished surrounding and if this festival is meant to remember his birth, then, it is worthwhile to consider the millions who will have no gastronomic memories this - or any other - Christmas.

No point in abandoning all festivities, but some perspective will always help. Perspectives always do. Question is, what do we do with them?

2 comments:

Pragya said...

That is indeed the question! What do we do with them. Except perhaps be aware that we should be making a concerted effort toward the direction where our lives are more about others than ourselves. Greed is so not good!

Pragya

Anonymous said...

A very good question indeed! There's no point asking what is this one or that one or the government doing about it - what are we? We may not be able to go out and feed the poor ourselves but surely we can financially support those who are. There are some very good organisations doing a great job feeding the poor in africa, India, nepal, etc. Why not support them?